Tenants, Tenants, Tenants - Using Technology to Maximize Occupancy

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View examples of how technology can play a role in both attracting tenants, and keeping the ones you've got!

Presented by: Scott Sidman and Jason Snipes


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  • IntroductionThank you to RealComm for the invitation. It’s a pleasure to be here and speak with you today. The information we’ll share with you today comes form Insights gleaned from 10 years experience as a technology & service partner for some of the premier CRE organizations in the US & Canada such as Beacon Capital, Normandy Partners, Manulife Financial, Carr Partners, many others.The Tenant Experience & Efficient Operations are the focal points for the majority of our clients in using our services, but additionally, The BEI marketing team dedicates significant resources to developing education programs and curated content on Best Practices.
  • Today, we will share some of what we have learned and what we believe regarding best practices for utilizing technology to retain & attract(a magnet image?) tenants. Begin with a few myths/misconceptions & truthsAnd will then focus on discussing how technology can best be applied to tenant retention as this is where the majority of our direct experience is.But, we’ll also share some thoughts on how technology can be applied to attracting tenants. - Very analogous to the focus of my job in particular (sales & marketing) and I’ll talk about how we use technology and data to attract interest and make decisions. Finally, I’ll summarize our recommendations.Our goal is that you’ll have at least a few key takeaway ideas to discuss and consider for your organization’s tenant retention and attraction efforts.
  • Myths & MisconceptionTechnology is all about replacing people (“CRE is a people/relationship business”)This was the common refrain when we first started in this business 10 yrs. ago. The majority of CRE firms are past the “early adopter stage” that sentiment reflected and I think firms are coming around to recognize at least that the proper use of technology allows for the automation of mundane tasks and data collection that in the hands of skilled and experienced managers can help improve company performance. Note: Jeffrey Moore “Crossing the Chasm” image?2. This social media stuff is a fadB2B social media marketing spending will grow from $1.1 billion in 2009 to $4.8 billion in 2014. Forrester Research 3. Technology alone will deliver resultsWe see failure when technology implementation is not directed by senior management and connected to strategic objectives. Tenant Retention and Attraction through utilization of technology is a strategic initiative.
  • Some TruthsYour tenants are online now and staying there70% of all buying B2B buying decisions are researched and made online before a company representative is ever involved . Sirius Decisions2. Access to information and services on demand and online is expected A BEI client, large, institutional owner/manager did not want to deploy a tenant portal (take all calls, provide personal service.) Recently signed a very large lease with a multinational corporation insisting on online access. 3. The predominant use of CRE technology is inward facing – need to turn that aroundOnly 16% (8 out of the 50) CRE technologies identified by RealComm that make up the IT Enterprise Architecture could be characterized as predominantly “Tenant Focused,” or “Tenant Facing.”
  • Tenant RetentionWe believe that the technologies most likely to impact and aid in the tenant retention effort include – A Tenant Service Request, or Work Order systemCommunications Systems An Information & Data Collection System – A broad term
  • Tenant Service Request Work Order Systems While I am assuming most of you are familiar with these systems, our experience shows us that they are not used to their full potential and toward the goal of retaining tenants. Most companies are simply “Paving the cow paths” – no meaningful business improvement, or useful information. The primary goal for implementing the system should be to help your management team deliver better service. Period. It is the one thing you can control and everything else, efficiency, tracking, billing, etc. is secondary and will take care of itself. Proper use begins with goal setting – connecting to lease SLA’s and responsiveness benchmarks. Using a system religiously and setting high expectations with staff. Measure performance against benchmark targets and reporting on that performance. The goals should be that (a) proactive and responsive service becomes a fundamental factor in a tenant’s decision to renew (b) that management can quantifiably demonstrate their service performance track record to existing tenants at any time and (c) that by automating data collection, managers have the time to apply their skill and experience to more meaningful tenant interactions.
  • Tenant Service Request Work Order Systems While I am assuming most of you are familiar with these systems, our experience shows us that they are not used to their full potential and toward the goal of retaining tenants. Most companies are simply “Paving the cow paths” – no meaningful business improvement, or useful information. The primary goal for implementing the system should be to help your management team deliver better service. Period. It is the one thing you can control and everything else, efficiency, tracking, billing, etc. is secondary and will take care of itself. Proper use begins with goal setting – connecting to lease SLA’s and responsiveness benchmarks. Using a system religiously and setting high expectations with staff. Measure performance against benchmark targets and reporting on that performance. The goals should be that (a) proactive and responsive service becomes a fundamental factor in a tenant’s decision to renew (b) that management can quantifiably demonstrate their service performance track record to existing tenants at any time and (c) that by automating data collection, managers have the time to apply their skill and experience to more meaningful tenant interactions.
  • Communication SystemsWhen I mention “communication systems,” the response is generally something along the lines of “well, we have email”A communication system includes both tools and philosophy and both will aid in your tenant retention effort. – “We are a progressive, modern company.” The problem with email communications with tenants are the same we all face – We are overloaded with email so, we tend to ignore and miss the important thingsEmail is isolated. It’s generally disconnected from the relevant event, incident or item it relates to. Must recognize that younger workforces communicate differently today. Align Tenant Communications with Distinct Systems & Social Media tools Emergencies Broadcast messaging / Emergency Messaging SystemsNon-emergency Events  Tenant PortalsGreen/sustainable initiatives, personnel information, area goings on Blogs, Social Media - Twitter Clients (Hootsuite) (ditch the newsletter!)Building amenities, instructions  VIDEO! YouTube, etc.
  • Communication SystemsWhen I mention “communication systems,” the response is generally something along the lines of “well, we have email”A communication system includes both tools and philosophy and both will aid in your tenant retention effort. – “We are a progressive, modern company.” The problem with email communications with tenants are the same we all face – We are overloaded with email so, we tend to ignore and miss the important thingsEmail is isolated. It’s generally disconnected from the relevant event, incident or item it relates to. Must recognize that younger workforces communicate differently today. Align Tenant Communications with Distinct Systems & Social Media tools Emergencies Broadcast messaging / Emergency Messaging SystemsNon-emergency Events  Tenant PortalsGreen/sustainable initiatives, personnel information, area goings on Blogs, Social Media - Twitter Clients (Hootsuite) (ditch the newsletter!)Building amenities, instructions  VIDEO! YouTube, etc.
  • Information & Data CollectionBegin the renewal process the day the tenant signs the lease. Michael Pelt – MDH Partners (10 Smart Tips for Tenant Retention)1. Schedule and document visits, calls, etc. with the tenant contact on site and lease renewal decision maker. Keep accurate and up to date call logs. *Store all of this information either in a single location. – A CRM system (SalesForce, etc.) or, in an Operations system that allows for this capability. – It is only valuable if it is easily retrievable and web-based. 2. Do smaller surveys. The annual Kingsley survey is fine, but use tools like Zoomerang or Survey Monkey to ask your tenants questions regarding service, or decisions you are contemplating. – Base decisions on data! (BEI Example)3. Provide outlets for feedback. People prefer to share information in a variety of ways and it’s important you try to accommodate them. Beyond phone calls and emails, think about things like Community Forums accessible though your building or corporate Website as well as live help or chat links.
  • As you can tell. Technology is rapidly changing the world we live in and CRE is not immune from that. In particular, we need to recognize and react to the fact that access to information is now controlled by the B2B and B2C consumer. (Earlier stat) Plenty of evidence of that already on the brokerage side of the business (ROFO, Loopnet, etc. CRE firms will help themselves in the battle to attract tenants by embracing technology that helps them to do the following - Align brokerage & management better online (everyone is in sales)Demonstrate your “techie-ness” & Help prospective tenants find you!Manage your brand online (you can’t control it.)
  • We refer to this as marketing and sales alignment in our company. It means that information flows seamlessly from one system to another and that we control and manage messaging and technology tools. An example can be found in our internal use of LinkedIn. (Image) We have a company LinkedIn page and every employee has a LinkedIn profile. We have an internal process document that governs the language we use on our profiles so that it is consistent with our corporate page.  We have identified the groups we should all belong to and the conversations we should monitor. A second example is in our use of our company blog.  We have a detailed blogging program that has many components to it. The key items though are while it is primarily a marketing too, every department must contribute to the blog (guidelines) weekly and all email signatures, correspondence have a link to our blog.
  • I have mentioned that your tenants are online, that they control access to information and make many decisions and value judgments before ever picking up the phone to speak to someone. Some of those value judgments are going to be related to how ‘tech savvy” you are as an organization and building/management team you are. The elements and tools you need to have in place to help influence those judgments include:Your corporate & property Website (more in the next section)A blog A LinkedIn PageA Facebook PageA Twitter AccountA YouTube Corporate & Building Page (we are in the video age)Tools like http://dlvr.it/ and http://hootsuite.com/ that allow you to manage and update all your social media outlets.
  • This may not be a popular sentiment, but I believe most commercial office websites are dated and ill conceived. They need to be far more interactive and more than “brochure ware”.  Every Class A or B commercial Property should have it’s own unique URL separate from the corporate site. A site at a minimum should contain the following - Social Media links from the home pageUse Video to show the building and area’s unique features (Everyscape.com )Promote People (pictures, bio’s, contact information, make it fun)A place to promote successes (Green/sustainable initiatives)Every page should have a form and call to action (huge mistake in most sites)A Main Menu Navigation Link to your blogTenants should access/login all online services from the Building Site (promote internally)A Community Forum Site – Configure tools like ZenDesk, UserVoice, etc. Think about Organic Search & SEO – key terms for your building/area Monitor What’s Being Said About You (example of search for one of our clients)Conduct internal searches regularlySet up Google AlertsTools like “Your Buzz” from American Express – consolidates all social media sources.
  • We have covered a lot and recognize that not all suggestions may be a fit for all organizations and properties. Also recognize that the we have little control over the primary factors of location and price. We’re talking about the things that we can control.  For most CRE Firms and properties, there are some essential technological tools that will aid their ability to retain and attract tenants.  For your tenant retention efforts – Automate as many of your day-to-day operational practices as you can through web-based tool. Apply a strategic objective to their use (i.e. Tenant Retention through responsive service,) set clear targets and use your tools to measure performance against those targets. Make that information easily accessible organization wide and transparent to your tenants. The culture of service and accountability will pay tremendous dividends.  Additionally, use communications and data collection tools like Surveys and CRM tools to aid in meeting preparation and data driven decisions based on real tenant need.
  • For your tenant attraction efforts – Develop a social media and content strategyAlign brokerage and management through managed use of LinkedIn and a Blogging effort. Re-think your Website, or build one. It is an external and internal sales tool. Make it interactive, engaging and control the messaging. Finally, all of this requires a few things to work well – A top-down organizational commitmentNew Positions needed (content manager, social media strategist?)Strategically driven technology decisions – don’t pave the cowpaths!An acceptance of change managementStart with Objectives, Create the Strategy and measure everything you can.
  • Tenants, Tenants, Tenants - Using Technology to Maximize Occupancy

    1. 1. Tenants, Tenants, Tenants!
    2. 2. Meet Building Engines o 10+ years experience o Web Based / Wireless Platform o International o 300 Million+ Sq Ft Managed o Client focus on tenant experience, efficient operations and best practices Scott Sidman VP Sales & Marketing Building Engines 2
    3. 3. Agenda o Myths, Misconceptions & Truths o Applying Technology to Tenant Retention o Applying Technology to Tenant Attraction o Summary 3
    4. 4. Myths & Misconceptions 1 “Technology is about replacing people.” 2 “This social media stuff is a fad.” “Technology alone will deliver results.” 3 4
    5. 5. Some Truths 1. Your tenants are online and staying there. 2. Access to information and services on demand and online is expected. 3. The predominant use of CRE technology is inward facing. 5
    6. 6. Centralize, Automate & Track Data o Tenant Service Request or Work Order System o Communications System o Information & Data Collection System 6
    7. 7. Tenant Service Request/Work Order Systems Why do tenants choose to stay? 1 Location 2 Price 3 Service Service is the ONLY component that you have direct control over! 7
    8. 8. Tenant Service Request/Work Order Systems Why do tenants choose to stay? Management demonstrates: 3 Service o Proactive & responsive service o Ability to quantify service performance track record o Greater focus on meaningful interactions, less on mundane 8
    9. 9. Communication SystemsTimes have changed. Your business needs to reflect howpeople communicate. 9
    10. 10. Communication Systems Non-emergency Initiatives, BuildingEmergencies Information, Amenities, Events Happenings Instructions Blogs, Social Video, Broadcast Tenant YouTube, Messaging Media, Portals Twitter etc. Clients 10
    11. 11. Information & Data Collection o Schedule and document visits, calls, etc. o Do smaller surveys o Provide outlets for feedback “Begin the renewal process the day the tenant signs the lease.” Michael Pelt, MDH Partners 11
    12. 12. Attracting Tenants Through Technology1. Align brokerage & management online2. Help prospective tenants find you3. Manage your brand online 12
    13. 13. Align Brokerage & Management Better Online Blogging 13
    14. 14. Help Prospective Tenants Find You Do you pass the “tech savvy” test? 14
    15. 15. Manage your Brand Online Social Use of Media Video Links Community Forum Site Form & Call to Action- on Every Page Monitor What’s Being Said About You All Online Services from Building Site 15
    16. 16. Summary of Recommendations For your tenant retention efforts, use web-based tools to: Make data easily accessible Set objectives & clear targets Measure performance against targets 16
    17. 17. Summary of Recommendations For your tenant attraction efforts, use web-based tools for: Social Structure Media & & Content Strategy •Top-down commitment •New positions •Align brokerage & mgmt •Strategic technology decisions •Re-think your •Acceptance of change website mgmt •Objectives, strategy, measurement 17
    18. 18. Don’t Miss Out: Additional Resources!1 Download the Tenant Retention Kit: Assess your tenant services with a Checklist, Article, and Video2 Visit the Tenant Retention Best Practices Microsite: Access our Tenant Retention webinar on- demand, bonus content, best practices & additional resources Contact Scott Sidman ssidman@buildingengines.com D: 781.314.9356

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